Three Pedestrians Killed in New York SUV Crash - News - @ JEMS.com


Three Pedestrians Killed in New York SUV Crash

A 24-year veteran in law enforcement, described the accident in the picturesque village as "horrific" and "the most gruesome" he has witnessed.

 

 
 
 

CHRIS CAROLA, Associated Press | | Wednesday, August 10, 2011


VOORHEESVILLE, N.Y. (AP) — An out-of-control SUV, its driver's foot possibly stuck on the gas pedal, drove onto a sidewalk Wednesday morning and killed three women in a walking group before crashing into a church, police said.

The driver, 55-year-old Luann Burgess, had just dropped off a foster child at a nearby elementary school summer program. At about 8:30 a.m., as she returned along the route she drove every day, the SUV accelerated off the road near St. Matthew's Roman Catholic Church, acting Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said.

Burgess' foot or a flip-flop she was wearing apparently interfered with the gas pedal, he said.

The 2007 Toyota Highlander ran through part of a parking lot and hit the women as they waited near the church for a companion, authorities said. The SUV continued 70 or 80 feet, dragging two bodies as it ran under a covered church entryway, smashed iron railings and crashed into the brick wall of the bell tower.

"All of a sudden we heard this horrendous noise and crash," said Kathy Leroux, a member of the walking club. "Everybody was trying to figure out what was going on. Somebody ran over to open the car door, and then someone yelled 'We need a blanket! We need a blanket!'"

"It was awful. Awful," she said.

Apple, a 24-year veteran in law enforcement, described the accident in the picturesque village as "horrific" and "the most gruesome" he has witnessed.

Hours after the accident, the victims' six sneakers lay under a bush where a floppy hat hung from a branch.

Burgess was being treated at Albany Medical Center for injuries that weren't life-threatening. None of the congregants in the church for morning Mass was hurt.

District Attorney David Soares said at the scene that it was too early to say whether the driver would be charged.

Toyota has been buffeted by safety recalls and lawsuits connected to accelerator problems. Earlier this year, about 400,000 Highlanders made between 2004 and 2006 were recalled to replace carpeting and retention clips on the driver's side that could interfere with the accelerator pedal arm.

The three women were part of a group of about 50 who were on a 5-kilometer guided walk organized by the Empire State Capital Volkssporters, which sponsors outings for its 300 members in the Albany-Troy-Schenectady area.

The victims were 66-year-old Carol Lansing, of Green Island, and 79-year-old Rosemarie Hume and 81-year-old Fran Pallozzi, both of Waterford.

Members of Volkssporters remembered the victims as delightful women who regularly participated in club events for fitness and friendship.

"It's devastating for our club," said club President Lea Darling. "We have a wonderful group of people. We don't just walk. We also have birthday parties, picnics, a Christmas party and other get-togethers."

Darling called Fran "a sweetheart."

"She was one of those people that we would look up to and epitomize, saying 'You're showing us all that you don't have to just sit and complain about your aches and pains when you get older, you can continue to enjoy life and the people around you,'" Darling said.

Doug Reynolds said he and his wife were putting on sunscreen while the women walked across the road to use the church restroom.

"If we were on a country road walking five abreast, you could understand it," Reynolds said. "But standing on a sidewalk in front of a church? It's just unreal."

Michael and Kazzy Gainor, longtime village residents, said the neighborhood where the accident happened is popular with walkers, runners and cyclists because it's not heavily traveled, especially on weekday mornings after most people have headed off to jobs in Albany.

"This is a great community for walking and other activities," Kazzy Gainor said.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, pedestrian struck

 
What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Philadelphia Fire Department Apologizes for Medic’s Jab at Police

Union head calls photos a slap in the face of officers.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire and EMS Crews Blame New Technology for Patient’s Death

Delayed response blamed on recurring dispatch problems.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Suspect Steals, Crashes Maryland Ambulance

One killed, others injured in Prince George’s County crash.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Tennessee Trench Rescue

Worker pulled from Roane County worksite.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Time’s Ebola Firefighters

Doctors, nurses and others saluted for fighting virus.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Car Strikes Manhattan Pedestrians

Seven people hurt when car jumps curb.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >